Louisa County’s Quinton Ragland and William Monroe’s Kyle Kruszewski both had the same feeling when they found out.
All that sweat? All that weight lifting? All that running?
“All of my hard work paid off,” Kruszewski said.
“All the hard work we do over the summer and coming in in the morning was worth it,” Ragland said.
Ragland, Kruszewski and Albemarle’s Zykal Foster will all three represent Central Virginia in the Virginia High School Coaches Association’s football all-star game this weekend. It is a big-time reward with a little less than 80 seniors from across the state playing in the contest.
It’s such a big honor that Ragland though Louisa coach Mark Fischer was kidding when he said Ragland had been picked.
“I thought he was playing with me but he had all the paperwork with my name on it and I was really proud,” Ragland said.
All three were major impact players this fall, with all three earning first team All-District honors, in the Jefferson for Foster and Ragland and in the Bull Run for Kruszewski. Ragland was the Jefferson District player of the year and made 62 tackles, 19 of which went for a loss. The tall, rangy end also had five sacks and forced a pair of fumbles. He spent some serious time paving the way on offense to for a pair of 1,000-yard backs in Malik Bell and Job Whalen. Now he’ll get a chance to play against some of the state’s best in a special setting, an opportunity he’s looking forward to.
“I love to see myself going against the best so I can see what I’m made of,” Ragland said. “(Fischer) told me I should be excited so I can go show what I can do in front of other people and that I should keep myself in shape because I’m going to have to bring my A game.”
Kruszewski was about as versatile a piece as a team could ask for, playing tight end, tackle and even split end for the Dragons while also making a lot of noise as a defensive tackle. Kruszewski caught 20 balls and piled up 243 yards and three touchdowns for Monroe while registering 54 total tackles, three sacks and 21 quarterback hurries for Monroe. It was a big step forward for a player who had a breakout season as a junior but really went to work during the summer
“Coach (Jon Rocha) talked to me last year, I got in the weight room and everything just clicked,” Kruszewski. “I’m excited about the competition I’m going to face (at the all-star game).”
Kruszewski is one of just three players all-time that’s played in the All-Star game from Monroe, with Rocha being one of the other two. Like Rocha did a few years back, he enters the all-star game still sorting through the college process and according to Kruszewski, Rocha found his collegiate home through the game, drawing interest from his eventual landing spot at UVa-Wise at the game.
Foster, an All-Group 5A second team pick this year was an absolute force on the edge this year with 73 total tackles, 36 solo stops, 15.5 tackles for a loss and a whopping 13.5 sacks. Throw in 15 quarterback hurries and six forced fumbles and the amount of players Foster had a tangible impact on is just absurd for a defensive end/outside linebacker.
“He has worked very hard and willed himself to be a better player,” Albemarle coach Brandon Isaiah said of Foster during the season. “He has been a high character kid and a big-time football player.”
Goochland’s Calvin Martin was also selected for the game after having a major impact as a two-way player this season, rushing for 622 yards and eight touchdowns while coming up with 35 tackles and five interceptions at cornerback. An injury suffered in the state semifinals, however, prevented him from playing.